MIDDLEBURG, VA-The exhibition Sporting Accoutrements: The Still Lifes of Henry Koehler will be on view at the National Sporting Library & Museum in Middleburg, Virginia through May 31, 2015. Twenty-four intimate and contemplative paintings of fox and stag hunting, racing, polo, fishing, and shooting paraphernalia by the recognized sporting painter Henry Koehler have been brought together to highlight the artist’s deep knowledge and almost hallowed respect for the objects he paints, evoking the very nature of their use.
These often quiet, introspective works convey Koehler’s artistic sense of observation, color, and composition and echo the sentiments of sporting and art enthusiasts, both past and present. Koehler has had over seventy solo museum and gallery exhibitions since his first in 1961. An elegant, articulate, and sophisticated man, he has easily moved through international sporting circles sketching and painting many of the major race courses and tracks, polo events, and hunts in the U.S., England, France, and Italy throughout his career. He has touched on, not just equestrian pursuits, but most all of the traditional turf and field sports in his work, including fishing and shooting.
NSLM Chairman of the Board Manuel H. Johnson noted of Koehler, “His unassuming nature belies the magnitude of his career. Koehler will turn eighty-eight years old this year and may still be found at his easel."
For centuries, still life painting has been influenced by a tradition of formally arranged, highly-detailed compositions, often created as a measure of an artist’s technical skill. Henry Koehler’s contemporary versions, however, are far removed from the academic genre’s often static roots. His atmospheric interpretations of turf and field sport accoutrements are not just renderings of the equipment. They are vibrant tableaus which not only evoke personal experiences; they stimulate the senses.
Lorian Peralta-Ramos, a sporting art authority, equestrienne, and National Sporting Library & Museum Board Member, was an advisor for the exhibition. She noted the personal nature of Koehler’s compositions, “Still lifes of saddles arouse the delicious smell of a tack room, while a line of hunting boots reminds us of a sweet scent of well-oiled leather, scents savored and appreciated by true horse people...Even jockeys’ boots or racing saddles, unceremoniously dropped in a pile, are transformed into inventive still life compositions.”
A thirty-two page, fully illustrated catalogue written by the NSLM’s George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. Curator Claudia Pfeiffer accompanies the exhibition.
Visit the Museum on Saturday, April 11, 2015 for a Free Admission Day and to chat with Henry Koehler at Meet the Artist event from noon to 1 p.m.